Doug Penner and his mom Allison awaited the start of the 2020 edition of the fundraising ride that bears his name, held under strict COVID-19 protocols. This year, the annual event will mark its 15th year. (Langley Advance Times file)

Doug Penner and his mom Allison awaited the start of the 2020 edition of the fundraising ride that bears his name, held under strict COVID-19 protocols. This year, the annual event will mark its 15th year. (Langley Advance Times file)

Ride for Doug against muscular dystrophy will go ahead

Strict COVID-19 precautions planned for 15th annual Langley fundraising motorcycle ride

This year will mark the 15th anniversary of the annual Ride for Doug fundraiser to fight muscular dystrophy, named after Walnut Grove’s Doug Penner.

The event “is officially ON,” said the online announcement.

Plans call for a Sunday, June 6, motorcycle ride starting in Langley and looping through the Fraser Valley, held under strict COVID-19 protocols similar to last year’s ride.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Ride for Doug proceeds despite COVID-19

Doug’s dad, Cam Penner said they were encouraged by the success of the 2020 edition of the ride.

“It was spectacular,” Cam told the Langley Advance Times.

Last June, 47 bikes showed up for a socially-distant ride with Doug on his grad year, raising close to $19,000, including $11,000 for Muscular Dystrophy Canada, and $7,000 towards an accessible vehicle for Doug.

But because of the pandemic, there was no post-ride get-together and barbecue, and Doug didn’t get to celebrated his Grade 12 graduation.

With the coronavirus still raging through B.C. its unlikely that will change this year, Cam said.

Doug was planning to take a job prep course at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, but has been stuck at home for most of the year because he is both immunosuppressed and has pre-existing respiratory conditions.

“He’s been sitting and waiting for the vaccines to roll out,” Cam commented.

Doug was recently vaccinated and has been able to get out for a few rides with his “road buddies,” Cam said.

Because Doug has been mostly staying at home, the family has been able to squeeze another year of use from their aging wheelchair-accessible van, Cam added.

This year, the family is hoping to raise enough to cover the remaining cost of a replacement.

READ ALSO: Ride For Doug Muscular Dystrophy fundraiser to proceed

Doug has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), an inherited disorder that affects one in 5,000 males at birth. It very rarely affects girls.

Muscles become weaker as the patient gets older, and there is no known cure.

When Doug was diagnosed, his father conceived of the idea for a charity motorcycle ride through the Fraser Valley.

So far, supporters have helped to raise close to $300,000.

On Sunday, June 6, the 2021 Ride For Doug will start at Colossus Theater in Langley at 2 p.m., taking back roads through Maple Ridge and Mission before ending in Abbotsford at the University of the Fraser Valley/Abbotsford Centre parking lot.

There will be no paper signup at the ride. Particpants must register in advance online.

No registration fee will be charged. Participants and supporters are asked to make an online donation instead.

There will be no rest stops, no food truck or post-ride BBQ dinner.

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